tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 31, 2012 4:00am-5:00am PST
point out that if you missed the interview with the president, there are several opportunities to watch a rebroadcast on msnbc later today at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. eastern, and again tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. for highlights from the interview, be sure to follow me on twitter, @davidgregory, my handle. that's all for today. we'll be back next year. until then, have a happy new year. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
good morning. it's monday, december 31st, and welcome to "morning joe." this morning, washington is just hours away from a self-imposed doomsday scenario, a deadline that was meant to force lawmakers to cut a deal to confront the nation's debt. in other words, this cliff-hanger has been two years in the making. >> i've said before that i felt that the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. i think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers. unless the hostage gets harmed. then people will question the wisdom of that strategy. in this case, the hostage was the american people. and i was not willing to see them get harmed. now, is this the deal i would have preferred? no. but this compromise does make a
serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need. most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that washington imposed on the rest of america. it ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months or eight months or 12 months. and it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy. >> it's a real disappointment today. i'm sorry that the so-called super committee was not able to do its work because this makes it much more difficult to achieve the deficit reduction targets that must be done. what happens next is there will be $1.2 trillion reduction in spending through what's called sequester. >> under current law on january 1st, 2013, there's going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases. i hope that congress will look at that and figure out ways to
achieve the same long-run fiscal improvement without having it all happen at one date. >> there's still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue. there's still time left to reach an agreement. and we intend to continue negotiations. >> and so, here we are, new year's eve, and the country counts down to popping champagne corks, the ball dropping in times square, and going over the fiscal cliff. if congress fails to act in the remaining hours of 2012, taxes will go up on all americans and a series of mandatory government spending cuts will kick in. hello, new year. hello, new recession. after two years of missing self-imposed deadline after self-imposed deadline, all eyes were on the senate over the weekend as the house's failure to even bring a plan to a vote left it up to the upper chamber to find a way out. vice president biden who had remained on the sidelines in this round of talks was even
called in to help move things along. but as the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. this morning, insanity continues as the clock ticks down and we have less than 17 hours to go. so joining us now to help us sort out this mess, we have former adviser to the bush administration and the romney campaign, dan senor. dan, will we go over the fiscal cliff? >> i'm afraid we will. i think it will get fixed right after right into the new year but i don't think it will get solved. >> something small, kicking the can down the road? >> correct. >> that same old thing. >> deal with the impasse until we get to the debt ceiling impasse. >> we'll talk about the politics of that coming up. former governor of pennsylvania and nbc news political analyst, ed rendell. ed, are we going over the cliff? >> no, i think we will kick the can down the road emphatically, but we won't go over the cliff. >> wow. director of the earth institute, economist dr. jeffrey sachs.
if we do, should we? >> more of the same because we're not going to solve anything, even if there's a deal today, we're going to see exactly that same tape replayed in two months, four months, six months. so i think there will be some kind of deal today, tomorrow, but it won't solve any of the basic issues. >> so a doomsday deadline would not have worked in this case? it will be the same thing. >> yes, because either side's not really talking about the basics to get to the real resolution of this. >> and in washington, we have political editor and white house correspondent for the huffington post, sam stein. sam, your prognostication. >> i thought we were talking about kim and kanye. i think we'll get something done. i'm not sure, though. >> talk about a hedge. >> let me tell you, that was the most articulate assessment i've heard so far. >> i want to hedge my bets a little bit here. >> bold. bold. >> yes. >> bold prediction. >> okay. before i get to -- msnbc political analyst and former chairman of the republican
national committee, michael steele is also with us. michael? >> good morning. happy new year. >> are we going over the cliff? ♪ we're going cliffing ♪ cliffing >> no, look. as the reality of your tape showed, mika, we went over the cliff a long time ago. we just didn't know it. look at the leadership we have leading us. it's like lemmings, folks. the reality is we do do a little cliff diving on the 31st at midnight. as dan pointed out, we're going to, you know, just hopefully pull the ripcord on the parachute and sort of gently go to a ledge, and there we'll sit for six or eight months as these guys do what they've done for the last six or eight months. >> okay. so we've got the latest here including president obama doing an interview for "meet the press." the senate is scheduled to reconvene at 11:00 this morning. any deal today would have to be rushed through both chambers of congress before midnight. as talks in the senate stalled
yesterday, minority leader mitch mcconnell reached out to someone he believed he could help jump start the negotiations and perhaps deliver an 11th hour compromise, and that would be vice president joe biden. mcconnell and biden reportedly spoke several times by phone throughout the night after talks with harry reid came to a halt. >> there's no single issue that remains an impossible sticking point. the sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest, or frankly the courage to close the deal. i want everyone to know i'm willing to get this done. but i need a dance partner. >> before i continue to set the scene, anyone here think biden can make a difference? dan? >> not before the end of the day. i just think that even if the senate -- even if they work out a deal that's acceptable to the senate, then it's going to go to the house. speaker boehner has said they'll either vote on what the senate produces or amend it. that's a lot of work to get done within a day. and i think there are a number of house republicans still
holding out, believing that they would rather vote to cut taxes after january 1st than vote for a deal now. >> so there's physically no time. >> i think it's very tough. >> well, but what dan's also saying is that just because the senate reaches a deal, even with the administration, there's no guarantee there are republican votes in the house to do it. >> yeah. we've seen that problem throughout the past few weeks. >> yeah. >> meanwhile, democrats say the biggest setback came earlier in the day when senator mcconnell proposed changes to social security benefits. in an exclusive interview on "meet the press," president obama said he had been willing to compromise to that issue as part of a larger deal. >> one of the proposals we made was something called chain cpi, which sounds real technical, but basically makes an adjustment in terms of how inflation is calculated on social security. highly unpopular among democrats. not something supported by aarp. but in pursuit of strengthening social security for the long term, i'm willing to make those
decisions. >> i want to hear from the president again and who he blames for this. first, harry reid, though, made it clear that issue was not up for discussion. >> i was really gratified to hear republicans had taken their demand for social security benefit cuts off the table. the truth is they should have never been on the table to begin with. >> so here's the politics of it now. coming up, president obama also hinted in that interview that republicans were to blame for the current fiscal cliff standoff. take a listen. >> congress has not been able to get this stuff done, not because democrats in congress don't want to go ahead and cooperate, but because i think it's been very hard for speaker boehner and republican leader mcconnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest americans should go up a little bit as part of an overall deficit reduction package. >> how accountable are you for the fact that washington can't get anything done and that we are at this deadline again? >> i have to tell you, david, if you look at my track record over the last two years, i cut
spending by over $1 trillion in 2011. i negotiated with speaker boehner in good faith and moved more than halfway in order to achieve a grand bargain. i offered over $1 trillion in additional spending cuts. at a certain point if folks can't say yes to good offers, then i also have an obligation to the american people. >> michael steele, some republicans were quick to criticize the president's tone. speaker boehner responded by saying this. americans elected president obama to lead, not to cast blame. the president's comments today are ironic, as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party. the president, of course, saying he has offered concessions. he's offered over $1 trillion in additional spending cuts. what am i missing here? because it seems like he's up against a wall.
>> yeah, some of those cuts, though, are kind of already were on the table. there were cuts, for example, in defense spending, you know, because we're not at war anymore. we're not necessarily -- you know, those trillion dollars are a little bit suspect for a lot of republicans. and i think ultimately the president is sitting there very, i think, disingenuously, you know, touting what he was able to do when he left on the table, quite frankly, mika, the one thing that could have been the real solution, the real framework to avoid all this, which was simpson-bowles. i'd still get back to that reality that this president failed on the core leadership point that was handed to him by a commission that he hand selected and asked to do the heavy lift that put together, i think, the appropriate framework for both conservatives and liberals in the house. both would have to swallow that pain pill, as simpson-bowles laid out, and the president blinked. so now he's sitting back and saying well, i put this cut on the table, that cut on the
table. the reality with simpson-bowles, it was right in front of him, a lot of this could have been avoided eight, nine months ago. >> dr. sachs, are the cuts not serious that the president's putting on the table, or is it just the cuts that republicans don't want? or who wants to be responsible for serious cuts? >> i think this actually goes back more than a decade. this goes back to tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that the country couldn't afford. >> mm-hmm. >> they put us into a deficit that has been going on since that time. president obama campaigned in 2008 to keep 98% of the households with those tax cuts that were unaffordable. the republicans, 100% with the tax cuts that are unaffordable. the basic fact is, neither party is getting to the core of the matter, which is that we don't have the revenues needed to run the federal government. nobody is specifying the cuts that would make it possible because those cuts can't be made to the revenues that were set in
the bush era. and this is the basic problem. it's been phony for a decade now. >> ed rendell. >> first of all, on the short term, the president did offer chain cpi, which is something his base hates. so he has put something on the table that was significant. now, could he deliver that with his base? >> didn't reid say it's not on the table? >> yes. >> every bipartisan proposal does include those changes. >> understand what we're talking about is a short-term deal. dr. sachs is right, we have to get to simpson-bowles -- and michael is right -- we have to get to the framework of simpson-bowles to really solve the debt crisis. we haven't even taken a shot at that. we've wasted two months. we've kicked the can down the road. when we have to come to grips with the long term, yes, there has to be a framework along the lines of simpson-bowles. >> okay. so first of all, everyone understands how serious this is. and for those who are clueing in, those who are worried about their own personal economies, this is what's at stake. according to the congressional
budget office, a fall over the fiscal cliff, which would happen at midnight tonight, would shrink the u.s. economy next year by a half a percent. unemployment would rise to 9.1%. the bush-era tax cuts would expire, hiking taxes in every bracket by an average of $3,400. americans making between $40,000 to $50,000 a year would see $1,700 in tax increases. millionaires would pay, on average, another $254,000, or about 11% of their income. 30 million more americans will have to pay the amt, the alternative minimum tax, originally designed to impact high-income earners. the payroll tax holiday which helped workers save about $1,000 a year will also end. tax credits from the 2009 stimulus bill will run out as well as several corporate tax breaks that need to be extended on a regular basis. overall, that is more than $550 billion in tax breaks set to
expire. but that's only part of it. there's also a series of spending cuts that will also be triggered by the fiscal cliff. $1.2 trillion in sequestration will kick in beginning january 2nd. next year alone, $109 billion will be slashed. half from the defense budget and half from nondefense spending. the so-called doc fix would also go away, reducing medicare payments to doctors by 27%. and finally, unemployment benefits will run out for more than 2 million americans who have lost their jobs. benefits will only be available for up to 26 weeks, a drastic reduction from the 73 weeks available to some out-of-work americans. i want to go to sam stein, but first, dr. sachs, if we go over the cliff, it is the poor americans who will be hit the hardest, correct? >> well, there are parts of that where the poor will be hit the hardest. but if we make a deal right now
of the kind that's being talked about, it's going to gut the federal budget for a decade to come. so we're on the brink either of these difficulties right now, which are real, or making terrible decisions that are going to lock us into a situation that we absolutely can't afford over the coming decade. either way, it's pretty unpalatable. we need the president to put forward a much clearer plan than has been put forward. this is -- this is, in part, what's missing. >> sam stein, president obama on "meet the press" yesterday said the overriding theme for the republicans is to protect the rich, basically, when it comes to their taxes. and that it's important that the republicans compromise. going on michael steele's theme that it's disingenuous what he's saying, is it fair in terms of what the democrats have offered, put on the table, what this president has offered in terms of concessions? is it fair to say that? >> you know, i do think it is.
and i go back to the summer of 2011 where the president and speaker boehner were negotiating over the debt ceiling at that time. and the president put on the table a provision that would have raised the medicare eligibility age over time to 67 in addition to chain cpi. the speaker didn't take that deal at the time, for various reasons. and then we ended up in this place. and once again, the last major offer the president made this time included chain cpi in addition to a tax rate threshold of $400,000. and the speaker, once again, didn't take it. so i understand that the speaker has different political considerations than the president, but in each instance, he's walked away from a potential deal that included entitlement program reforms and will end up likely with none of the above. and there's very little understanding about why, in the end, republicans didn't take that deal. there's a famous david brooks column from 2011 urging them to take the deal because that was
the best they were going to get. and it turns out to be very true. >> speaker boehner didn't walk away from the chain cpi deal. senator reid over the weekend said that the chain cpi change was a nonstarter. second of all, here's the reality. the reality is, the president knows that speaker boehner is ready to do a deal. the president knows a majority of republicans are ready to do a deal. there is a faction within -- >> is that true? >> yes. there is a faction within the house republican conference that is opposed to a deal. if the president can deliver something that a majority of republicans could go for -- >> what is it? >> -- and some democrats, then we will get over this. the president seems dug in, and the reality is, he's the president, right? he can get something done today if he wants to get something done. if it's $400,000 is the cutoff, if it's $1 million which is the cutoff which, by the way, a majority of democrats have voted for in the past, suddenly they're against the $1 million cutoff for the expiration of the
tax cuts. >> they tried this plan b thing, and they couldn't even get the republican -- >> well, they could get about 200 house republicans, and they needed about 20 house democrats, and the president and the democratic leadership made it clear it was a nonstarter. >> dan is being, again, disingenuous, and he's being -- >> i'm not. >> you are. because the deal, as sam pointed out, in the summer of 2011, the so-called big deal, that included chain cpi and raising the age of medicare. i'm talking about that. i'm talking about that. and the republicans had a chance to get two of the big things they wanted, and they turned their back on it because they couldn't get the votes. >> that's exactly what i was saying. i was saying that there is a faction within the conference -- >> that couldn't get the votes. >> -- that couldn't get the votes. what i'm saying right now is you look at the plan b that speaker boehner was for, you could have get a majority of republicans and some house democrats for it and you could have had a deal. the president made it clear he would have never accepted that deal. >> and he shouldn't have accepted that deal. >> senator reid said he would never take it up. >> you've got to get real
revenue. bring it up to $1 million and you start to eat away at the revenue. >> hold on. should lawmakers fail to act today, senator joe manchin has introduced new legislation that he says will soften the impact of going over the cliff. his measure would slowly phase in those steep tax rate increases instead of having them hit all at once. it would also allow the office of management and budget, by the way, did jeffrey sachs is shaking his head, to prioritize which programs will be hit with budgeted cuts. manchin said he was neither excited nor proud to offer such a lame-ass bill -- no, i said that. joining us now from capitol hill, nbc news capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell. i don't think you've left there. you just live there now, day and night. >> reporter: that's okay. i've got a nice sleeping bag, so it's okay. >> yeah, cots. all right. so what's the latest at this hour? >> reporter: well, i just picked up on the last bit of your conversation, and i think that there are some things to point
out in terms of just talking to some of the members in the hallways here. i do think that there is a frustration in both parties that seems pretty evenly split about wanting to get something done. so where does that take us? well, there are a number of republican senators who say they are ready to make a deal. and i think as dan pointed out, there are some very intransigent republicans in the house who are much more opposed to this. but if you can't get democrats to go along, you could see a coalition building. can this happen today? it seems hard to comprehend that in the hours left, it can be done. but something could be done over time. and members i've talked to say they are prepared to be here all day, all new year's day, and then on the 2nd, which is the last day of this congress. they'd be prepared to continue working if there's something to do. it's a very small group of people who are actually in the room. now the vice president is a key player in this. many people see that as a very good sign. he understands the hill in a way that maybe no one in the white house does. and has a relationship with people like mitch mcconnell to
try to accomplish something. the biggest sort of frustration that we heard yesterday from democrats is that they want to see a reasonable level of where the taxes would kick in at a higher rate, and they're willing to move off the $250,000 that the president had originally set, willing to do some things on the inheritance tax. but republicans are really concerned about not enough spending cuts, they say, based on the deal that has been presented to them privately. we don't know all the details, but they're saying there's just not enough spending cuts and the new revenue and taxes would be to cover existing spending. and that's not the deal that they are hoping to get. that's where we are at the moment. >> before we go, do you think we're going to go over the cliff? >> reporter: well, because i'm covering it, i don't want to wager, but i would say that the circumstances are not looking all that optimistic. but you've got to remain hopeful, they are working at it. there was work that has continued into the night. and let's give them a chance to see if they can get it done. >> the clock is ticking. kelly o'donnell, thank you so much. when we come back, former
white house press secretary, robert gibbs. also nbc news political director, chuck todd. and later, senators bob corker and tom coburn. and congressman tom cole. plus an update on the condition of secretary of state hillary clinton who is hospitalized with a blood clot. we'll have a live report. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks.
the offers that i've made to them have been so fair that a lot of democrats get mad at me. i offered to make some significant changes to our entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit. they say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way. but the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for
the wealthiest americans are protected. >> all right. we're taking a look here as the clock counts down as we head over the fiscal cliff. a live look at capitol hill as the sun comes up over washington. they're working, working away there on capitol hill. here with us now from washington, former white house press secretary and former senior adviser to the obama campaign, robert gibbs, who looks like he's on a ski vacation. >> very casual. is he in washington or colorado? >> i wish i was in colorado. >> nbc news chief white house correspondent political director and host of "the daily rundown," chuck todd is with us as well. >> don't you know the trick? above the waist is all you have to worry about. you could have faked it. i mean, mika's wearing shorts, right? >> he's got his jammies on. >> i think the seriousness of what's going on is matched by my outfit. >> so you're wearing pajama
pants with bozos all over them, right? >> more or less. >> so let me just ask you a question. it's sort of big picture. this was set up over two years. everybody put this deadline in place to force washington to confront the nation's debt. this was a big deal, this deadline. and we're going to come out of it with either nothing and go over the fiscal cliff, or some small piddly kick the can down the road, i'm so tired of that statement, little mini push it off thing. what are we doing here? >> it's an excellent question. and i think the next 16 1/2 hours, honestly, mika, will define whether or not the republican party is remotely serious about playing a significant or important role in governing this country. i mean, we do not have to be at this point. what the president has put on the table and the compromises he's made to get a deal both in 2011 and in the last several
weeks are greater and more significant than anything the republicans have even remotely talked about. you hear they want to do something about the debt. you hear they want to do something about the deficit until it becomes time to do something about the debt or the deficit, and they're unwilling to do anything. dan is completely wrong. speaker boehner is not prepared to make a deal. you know, he's not the host of "let's make a deal." he's completely incapable of making a deal. and look, i think we're headed over the fiscal cliff because, again, i don't think the republican party is serious about playing an important role in governing this country. >> now, i don't necessarily disagree with you, but let me push back a little bit, and then i'll let dan jump in. >> sure. >> look, the argument i'm hearing -- and i don't know what cuts the president is offering to the republicans -- but why doesn't he offer more? why doesn't he give them -- i mean, anything more that he offers would be better than going over the fiscal cliff. why can't we get to something? why can't he give enough
significant cuts that would make some of these republicans in districts that will really have problems when they go back to win re-election, if they raise taxes, give them some sort of incentive. give them some serious cuts. >> let's break apart your premise because i just -- i do not think -- i think there is a significant portion of the republican party that simply will never see any increases in revenue as necessary to run this government. i mean, you know, the president -- the one thing that we all agreed on in the campaign is we wanted to talk about raising taxes on the rich, and the romney campaign wanted to talk about us wanting to raise taxes on the rich. we both wanted to talk about that. they thought it was a great issue for them. we thought it was a great issue for us. you know, speaker boehner offered a $1 million threshold for raising revenue, and he couldn't get the votes in the republican party to do so. the president has moved continuously toward the republican party. as we've talked about here in
this discussion, he's put entitlement cuts that are not popular as governor rendell said with his base on the table. he has lowered his revenue threshold. he's put spending cuts, increased spending cuts, on the table. the republicans simply can't -- >> have it moved. >> -- utter the word "yes" without them uttering the word "yes," we can't get a deal. >> okay. >> i feel like you're talking to a 5-year-old, and you're saying, look, you have to eat your vegetables. and the 5-year-old says, you know, maybe i'll eat half of them. you say a quarter of them? just a couple -- at some point, you can't continue to -- >> it goes down to one point. >> -- give and give and give. >> i did that with my kids for many years. >> here's the thing. but you didn't think that was a good way of raising your child. >> not enough protein. dan, did you eat your vegetables last night? go for it. >> if robert wants to go through
the history, then let's include all the events in history. >> let's. >> talk about that 1 million docto threshold. 53 democrats voted for that proposals. chuck schumer has been on the show numerous times. he could have gotten 200 republican votes. he would have needed about 20 democratic votes, all right? >> this plan "b"? >> yes, the democrats have been for that. this time they weren't. so this is something the president used to be for. the democrats used to be for. >> you're saying the democrats are difficult. >> i'm saying, look. the president wants a deal, as you said, he can get a deal today. okay? you go back in history, you look at down points, crises in economic history. look at herbert hoover's period. nobody at that period remembers who the speaker of the house was. they remember hoover. >> yeah. >> nobody in history is going to remember who the speaker was now. they'll remember barack obama. is the president ready to lead
and work with boehner on something in which he can deliver, a coalition of republicans and democrats? >> dan, it's true, you could get a deal today by saying the threshold's $1 million, and what do you have? >> or $550,000. >> you have complete junk. you'd wreck the country, then. >> you think what's going to country less than what happen ifs we go over the cliff? >> yes, absolutely. because if you give up revenues for the next decade the way you're talking about, you would wreck the budget for a decade. >> robert, do you see what you've done? seriously. >> i mean, but let's be serious here. you know, the republicans -- speaker boehner -- the reason people aren't going to remember speaker boehner in history is because speaker boehner is unwilling and incapable to get a deal. he simply cannot get this done. he cannot get this done. he cannot get this done within his own caucus. he cannot get a majority of the majority to agree on a plan so that he can even bring it up in front of the house. as governor rendell said in the earlier segment, even if they
get something done in the senate, there is, by no means, any guarantee that speaker boehner will even be able to put it on the floor because of his caucus. i mean, this is crazy. i mean, we're on fantasy island if we think somehow speaker boehner is poised outside the door ready to make a deal and somehow somebody won't come talk to him. this is la la land. >> we're also on fantasy island if we think a real deal to avoid the fiscal cliff can happen in the next couple of hours. let me bring chuck todd in. and dan, i loved when you were talking and ed rendell went like this, and you pushed him hand down and continued talking. that was effective. >> maybe they should do that. >> chuck todd. chuck. >> look, you know, the irony to all this is i think when you look at the deal that's about to be struck, if it happens between mcconnell and biden, it's pretty clear that the white house and mcconnell would have gotten this deal done if they were the two
negotiating partners. mitch mcconnell. look where they're coming around on. when boehner decided to halt the talks and go toward his plan "b," they were upset because they thought the white house should be coming up another $100 billion, $150 billion on spending cuts. what i never understood is why stop the talks right then? if you believed you were close, the white house at $400,000, boehner at $1 million, they stopped trading proposals. boehner decided not to do that. now, i think there's clearly some sort of personal -- they don't know how to talk to each other, the white house and boehner. they just don't know how to negotiate with each other. biden and mcconnell do know how to speak to each other. and i think if they get 75 or 80 votes in the senate for what they come up with, and you know what? they're not that far apart on this fix, if you will. basically, they seem to be divided on whether to buy down the sequester. but they're not that far apart.
and if they get 75 or 80 votes, that's going to mean 30 to 35 republicans. boehner has to put it on the floor. and boehner doesn't have to -- boehner really doesn't have to support the deal, but he does have to put it on the floor, and it will pass. >> michael steele, take it to robert gibbs. and it's great that some of these people can talk to each other, but they still have to go back to those who don't want to play ball, correct? >> that's exactly right. and that's the reality that we've lived with. and i think chuck has put a really interesting political identifier on this thing. this play should have probably always have started in the senate with mcconnell as opposed to relying on the house, given the fractured nature of the house to begin with, to have the senate republicans cobble the deal and then send it to the house and make it easier for boehner to pull those 200 republicans who would have been there. but i think the one thing that robert gibbs and i appreciate his point about what the president has done and woe is the president because he's just been a bystander, as we all know in all this. the reality of it remains that
at the end of the day, you've got to deal with the spending side of the equation. and while you may want to, you know, chop down on republicans who, you know, have been intransigent on this point, it is the core problem here, is that we don't have a revenue issue as much as we have a spending issue. and those republicans like myself and joe and others who said let's look at this picture in total. you have to focus on that side of the equation as well and deal with those realities that we spend more than we have. >> robert, bystander? do you want to take that one? >> yeah. i mean, again, we're back on fantasy island. but, i mean, we started this segment at the top of the hour with michael steele talking about simpson-bowles. chairman steele, in simpson-bowles is $2.6 trillion in additional revenue. i'd like to know anybody in the house republican caucus that's up for $2.6 trillion in additional revenue. because what the president has on the table now is $1.2 trillion. speaker boehner has said he'll
go to $800 billion. $2.6 trillion in revenue. you say we don't have a revenue problem. you're in favor of simpson-bowles. and you're $1.8 trillion away from the promise that you made -- or saying we should do on simpson-bowles. and yet you end the segment by saying we don't have a revenue problem. what chairman steele just said encapsulates why nobody in the republican party is serious about governing this country. nobody in the republican party is serious about wanting to make a deal. this is all a political game. they want to talk about the debt. they want to talk about the deficit. they want to talk about simpson-bowles. they want to talk about this and that. it's not revenue, it's spending. it's not the speaker, it's the president. it's fantasyland. somebody needs to get in the republican party that can actually make a deal, negotiate with democrats, the president and the vice president and get something done. we do not have to go over the cliff. we can stop this if the republicans are serious about governing this country. >> all right. we're going to leave you with the last word, robert gibbs.
thank you very much for being on the show. >> thank you. >> best of luck to you. >> thank you. >> chuck todd, thank you as well. coming up, we'll talk to republican senator bob corker and republican congressman tom cole about the state of negotiations. and up next, secretary hillary clinton has a serious health scare as she's hospitalized with a blood clot. we'll have a live report on her condition next. we'll be right back with much more "morning joe." i have lost 101 lbs on weight watchers online. i just got started and i'm like "hey, that first 20 came off, well it wasn't too hard at all." i love breads. you can still eat bread. i love my sweets. i can still have a cookie on weight watchers. i love the barcode scanner. occasionally, i'll use it at the bar. of course! that's what it's for, right? bar code. oh i think i'm never going there again. i feel healthy. and just...young again. [ female announcer ] weight watchers online.
welcome back to "morning joe." a live look at capitol hill as the sun comes up over washington. and the deadline for the fiscal cliff is now 16 hours away. will we go over the cliff? we're discussing it this morning. came in for a special edition of "morning joe." and joining us on the phone, "morning joe" himself, he is on assignment, investigating. i don't know what's so funny about that. investigating the fiscal cliff, but he wanted to jump into the conversation. >> i do think it's very important that i reach out to my peeps, people that happen to live in a state where it's 70 degrees or warmer.
>> exactly. >> the thing is -- and i wanted to address this to jeffrey sachs. i think it's fascinating, jeffrey, and we've talked about this for years now, that washington just is incapable of doing the things required to take care of long-term debt. they want to reinflate the bubble. in this case, whatever -- whatever deal is struck is going to be woefully insufficient. we need entitlement cuts. we need defense cuts. we need to reform taxes. they've walked away from entitlement cuts. and the social security adjustments. we're now hearing they're going to walk away from defense cuts after this is done. there's nothing coming out of this that will do anything but make our $16 trillion national debt much, much larger over the next decade. so why would i, as a conservative republican, vote to raise taxes for the first time
in 25 years if there are no cuts on the other side? and why would you want a bill to be pushed through if some of these tax cuts are just going to explode the debt over the next decade? >> well, the only way to get a real deal is to focus on the long term. and to do that, you have to put forward a plan that covers basically about ten years. so you have to put forward a framework. you don't do that in the back room the way they're doing it right now, throwing numbers every day, agreeing okay, it's not $250,000, it's $400,000. it's not $400,000, it's $500,000. this is absolutely the opposite of a serious way to manage a budget of a $3.7 trillion a year federal enterprise. and so the whole way that this is done is profoundly flawed. and this is the way that the president and boehner have done it now for four years.
it is an ongoing rerun. it's absurd. this is no way to find real solutions to any of these problems. and this -- i think this is, in my view, ultimately, though i think the intransigence on revenues is a very serious problem on the republican side, i think it is the responsibility of the president to put forward a clear framework that the whole public can see, not just in the back room. >> but jeff rejeffrey, as you ke president is talking about these bush tax cuts that were supposed to be so devastating to the economy and was going to cause, you know, deficits to explode for decades to come. the president has endorsed 98%, 99% of those tax cuts. >> i hear you. >> so it can't even be that. this goes back, though, let's think back when we talked about this in realtime in 2010, republicans won midterms. and so the president and the republicans came together.
they decided they were going to extend the bush tax cuts for two more years, extend unemployment benefits. they had no offsets, they had no cuts. so in the same week simpson-bowles came out talking about saving $4 trillion, $5 trillion over the next decade, you had congress coming back in a lame-duck session, adding an additional $1 trillion in a week. >> absolutely. and both sides went along with it. >> all right. dr. sachs, thanks. you all right there? joe, thank you. go back to work. i'm sorry to interrupt the project there. >> actually, i've got to go out and talk to my people. >> clutching the debt clock in the fetal position. >> give me the sunscreen, please. >> don't miss a spot. president obama says he offered up to $1 trillion in spending cuts to get a fiscal cliff deal done. but now republicans are asking from where? we're going to talk to republican senator bob corker next on "morning joe."
i've always had to keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine... but she's still going to give me a heart attack. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans.
♪ live look at the white house as the sun comes up over washington. it is 15 minutes past the hour. welcome back to "morning joe." we're here today because there's no deal and we are hours away from the fiscal cliff. here with us now, republican senator from tennessee and member of the senate banking committee, senator bob corker. senator, thanks for being on the show. we appreciate it. >> good morning. >> robert gibbs was characterizing many republicans as 5-year-olds that will not eat their vegetables, and every time we try and get them to eat their vegetabl vegetables, they ask for a smaller and a smaller and a smaller pea and it gets down to one pea on a plate. is that fair? >> look, this whole thing's a national embarrassment. i think it's an embarrassment to
the president, it's an embarrassment to both sides of the aisle and to both the house and the senate. >> how do we get out of it? >> well, first of all, i mean, whatever happens today is really inconsequential. it really doesn't matter. it's going to happen. we will have a solution, but as jeffrey was saying earlier, we still haven't moved any closer to solving our nation's problems. and so, now what will happen is this will be put off, and now, you know, we have the debt ceiling coming up. i do hope that during this debt ceiling debate, we'll actually get into the kind of entitlement reforms that our nation needs to solve its problems. but really, this is a lot of fuss about nothing today, unless you make, you know, somewhere between $350,000 a year and $550,000, today's discussion is totally irrelevant, because that's all that's being discussed. >> okay. >> but everything else -- i mean, really, it's totally irrelevant. it is. >> all right.
trying to get something out of him. >> i'm a little down there, geez. i want to pick up on the debt ceiling thing. from our point, one of the sticking points right now is that democrats want a year extension on the debt ceiling in this deal, republicans don't want an extension -- >> they're actually not present for that. they're not present. >> let me ask you, my question, you called this whole negotiating process a national embarrassment. are we really going to go in two months time and repeat this process whereby we're negotiating on brinksmanship, is that the idea here? >> well, i hope not. and you know, i've really moved on to the next debate. i mean, we realize that in the next 24 hours or so this is going to be resolved. and unfortunately, we have not moved one step closer to solving our national issues. and so, i've moved on to the debt ceiling and have offered a bill on the floor. actually, lamar alexander joined me this last week to raise the debt ceiling $1 trillion for $1 trillion in entitlement reforms, and that's to get out ahead of
this so we don't end up with this brinksmanship. i've also, yesterday i wrote a letter to the president. i know that he has said that he offered $1 trillion in cuts and reforms. i don't think anybody has ever seen those. as a matter of fact, i don't think they really exist. and so, you know, basically asking him to go ahead and lay out that $1 thririllion so we c actually start this now and pass legislation on the floor in advance so we don't jeopardize our nation's credit and we also move ahead with those entitlement reforms which are so important for us to overcome the dilemma we have. i think y'all know this, but the typical medicare recipient today pays one-third of the cost of medicare, and we have 20 million more americans coming on the medicare program over the next ten years. and so, again, this is really today a lot about nothing. hopefully, people turn their television off after today and we'll get on to other more
serious business, but we still have not done that, and i'd like to move ahead, and again, hope that we don't end up with the kind of brinksmanship that all of you are frustrated with us about. >> yeah. i'd agree with that. senator corker, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> i would also say that this matters today. coming up, we'll talk about why this matters and why we need to talk about it and maybe ask the question as to when, when we, and i especially focus on those in washington, are going to stop being the laughing stock of the advanced world. more "morning joe" when we come back. there is no mass-produced human. so we created the extraordinarily comfortable sleep number experience. a collection of innovations designed around a bed with dualair technology that allows you to adjust to the support your body needs - each of your bodies. our sleep professionals will help you find your sleep number setting. exclusively at a sleep number store.
coming up next, republican senator tom coburn joins the conversation from washington. that should be good. also, "bloomberg business week's" joshua green. keep it right here on "morning joe." [ hudson ] at weight watchers when we look back at what our members have accomplished in the past 50 years, it's pretty amazing. ♪ i feel like i'm on top of the world right now ♪ ♪ on top of the world right now ♪ introducing a weight loss program 50 years in the making. ♪ and i feel like i'm standing 10 ft. tall ♪ built on the power of the human spirit. built for human nature, so you can expect amazing. introducing the new weight watchers 360 program. join for free and expect amazing.